Senator Bob Menendez uses alleged ICE abuses to hamper immigration enforcement (SPLC, NYT)
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From the inflammatory side of things, he refers to agents who "stormed" a house; he claims that there are "US citizens who are targeted because of their race, targeted because of their color"; he claims that "their accent, their name, the color of their skin, the place where they lived would have put them at risk" and that "fundamental Constitutional rights still might not apply to them, in today's America"; and that the "authorities harass U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent in other ways". And, much more. It won't be surprising that the New York Times editorial board calls it a "brave" speech (link). From Menendez' summary of the speech:
This afternoon, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) took to the floor of the Senate to deliver a major speech on immigration raids and detentions. He cited the numerous incidences of American citizens and legal permanent residents of Hispanic or other minority descent getting swept up in raids and the fear this has engendered in minority communities. Senator Menendez, who is the Senate sponsor of legislation to ensure basic medical care for detainees, also announced that he will be introducing legislation to prevent the unlawful detention of American citizens and permanent residents.Consider this anecdote from his speech:
"The legitimate desire to get control over our borders has too often turned into a witch-hunt against Hispanic Americans and other people of color," said Senator Menendez. American citizens "are targeted because of their race, targeted because of their color--denied every fundamental right guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Common sense repeatedly loses out to hysteria, and agents of intolerance repeatedly jump over the legal protections to which every single American is entitled."
Another U.S. citizen named Gladis was at her home one day when eighteen vehicles drove into her front yard, and twenty agents jumped out.What Menendez forgot to state is that that incident occurred during the raid in Stillmore, Georgia. In addition to raiding the chicken processing plant in that town, ICE also arrested illegal aliens in residential areas, and they claim that they visited specific locations in those residential areas based on information they obtained during the main raid. She and others are part of a lawsuit  brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group indirectly linked to the Mexican government. See this for a description of the raid, with an ICE statement at the end. See the attempted class action complaint at . Some abuses may have occurred, or the plaintiffs could be telling tall tales; in any case the situation is mitigated by the facts that Menendez didn't reveal. And, it's worth noting that after the raid the plant was forced to raise wages in order to hire legal workers; whose side is Menendez on?
Agents banged on the door and threatened to throw gas inside the house if they didn't let them in. While the children in the house ran and hid in the bedroom, the agents broke down the door.
One of the agents grabbed Gladis and attempted to handcuff her.
Gladis said she could prove her citizenship, and gave them her social security card. After interrogating Gladis and her family for twenty more minutes, the agents left as fast as they came - they had no warrant, no probable cause, no reason for their actions besides suspicion about someone's name, their accent, and the color of their skin.
Like others, Menendez also brings up the case of Pedro Guzman, a mentally impaired U.S. citizen who was deported to Mexico and only made it back three months later. He also discusses the recent Washington Post series, which is disputed by ICE.
And, he brings up the case of Maria Argueta, who's also currently suing ICE. She makes some generally unbelievable claims (link):
Once inside, the agents asked Argueta about her immigration status, and when Argueta presented her Temporary Protection Status documents, they tossed them aside without looking at them, the suit alleges.Once again, while I'm sure that ICE abuses do occur, I tend to doubt her version of events.
According to the lawsuit, Argueta was taken to a detention center in Elizabeth, where agents mocked her with a popular Latino song "Maria Has Gone," and was later transferred to a Newark facility, where she was held for nearly 36 hours. Argueta was held without food or water for the first 24 hours after her arrest, the lawsuit claims.